When it comes to festivals in India, most foreigners know about Diwali and Holi, the festival of colours. Celebrated usually in the month of March (or late Feb), its the festival of colors and happiness, and the time in indulge in fun.
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2017
Where: All over India, but with lot of enthusiasm in North India
More About the Festival
Holi is celebrated on the Phalguna Purnima (day of Full Moon), and the exact date varies every year as per the Hindu calendar. The festival signifies the arrival of spring & end of winter.
However, for many, its the day to play and laugh, forget and forgive. Its the day to visit family, friends and foes to throw colours on each other, laugh, share Holi delicacies, and interesting drinks.
Importance of Colours
Holi celebrations start with a Holika bonfire on the night before Holi, where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colours, where participants play, chase and colour each other with dry powder (known as ‘gulaal’) and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight.
People wish each other ‘Happy Holi’ and usually say ‘bura na mano Holi hai’ (don’t mind its Holi) when they throw colours on others.
Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance.
Having the ‘Bhaang’
Another interesting aspect of the festival is ‘Bhaang’ (made from cannabis leaves), which is mixed into drinks (and also in sweets) and consumed by many to get a kick, something that makes them enjoy the revelry even more.
However, most of the celebrations (throwing colours and dancing) ends by afternoon. In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up & visit friends and family.
Safety Tips for Holi
Although Holi is fun, one has to be careful, because colors are used. Here are some useful safety tips for making your Holi Festival safe and joyful.
- Use natural colors only, and also prevent others from using anything that comes across as harmful (paints, etc.)
- Take care of your eyes, wash thoroughly if the colorful powders goes into your eyes, use sunglasses if possible
- Don’t drive if you’re high on Bhang or alcohol.